Perdido Pass Barrier System

Unconventional Engineering

In the weeks following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, more than 11 million feet of protective boom was deployed along the Gulf Coast in an effort to keep oil from reaching its shores. However, conventional boom did not function properly at Perdido Pass, a waterway with strong tidal currents and wave action. The State of Alabama turned to Thompson Engineering to design and construct a new kind of barrier system that would. Thompson’s team of engineers created a boom more suited to the currents and waves encountered in the pass. Constructed out of 36-inch diameter steel pipe and filled with polystyrene foam, the barrier was suspended from chains attached to 42-inch pipe piles. The system worked, and protected valuable wetlands and waterways to the north of Perdido Pass.